Valkyries: Was gender equality high in the Scandinavian periphery since Viking times? Evidence from enamel hypoplasia and height ratios.


University of Tuebingen, 72074, Tuebingen, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


Scandinavian countries currently have very high values of female autonomy. Was this already the case in Viking Times? In this study, we trace the roots of gender equality in the Scandinavian periphery over the past two millennia. We evaluate and recommend a new measure of early gender equality: relative enamel hypoplasia values of males and females. This new indicator allows us to trace relative health and nutritional equality, using archaeological evidence. We find that Scandinavian women in the rural periphery already had relatively good health and nutritional values during the Viking era and the medieval period thereafter. The corresponding value is 0.8 equality advantage for Scandinavian women, whereas in the rest of Europe most values fall in a band around 1.2 ratio units. This suggests that the currently high gender equality had a precedence during the Middle Ages.


Gender Equality,Relative Linear Enamel Hypoplasia,Rural Periphery,Scandinavian Countries,Viking Age,

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